Ever since I started my co-cooking sessions, I also started to seriously enjoy Iranian cuisine thanks to my dear Iranian friends. These Iranian friends I’ve met here – they are fun, easy to communicate with and great dinner companies – and they do enjoy food! But also as a Turkish, Iranian cuisine has a familiar taste for me and I see now that it is incredibly rich.
When I asked Ashkan what the name of the dish was, he said to me, a few times, Bag..Baga.. what?? I had to ask him to write it down for me. The name is Baghala Ghatogh and it is Fava Bean Stew served on rice. So you cook rice on one side, fava beans on the other side and then serve them altogether. To complete the table (and the plates), you serve it with something sour and something salty – like green olives and smoked salmon. A simple fresh salad is good to eat with it – one made with tomatoes, cucumber, red onions etc.
Ashkan is the pizza man! “Hey, why don’t we go to Ashkan’s place and make pizza” is apparently a common thing to say among his friends. This is why, the two times I made pizza night, he was the guest of honour.
Ashkan is a confident man in the kitchen. He knows what he is doing. He has principles and is quite picky with taste: for instance, (about pizza) “If you mix pineapple with shrimps, you’re doing it wrong.” Well, good luck with Finland then! I still personally cannot accept even pineapple itself on pizza – and I had to eat pizza with peach at Ravintola Arabianranta a few weeks back… But what surprised me most: he loves Salmiakki and Mämmi!!! So either I should work personally more on acquiring sophisticated tasting skills or Ashkan is crazy!
(serves for 4)
2 cups / 4.8 dl Basmati Rice
3 cups / 7.2 dl water, this is for rice. You will use more water later with beans as well, see step 6)
1/2 tbsp / 7.5 ml salt
1 potato (this amount might change, read step 2)
2 tsp (1+1) / 10 ml (5+5) olive oil, plus more to add in various stages, specifically 1 tbsp / 15 ml to add to the beans later
2.5 cups / 6 dl Fava Beans (you can also substitute with Lima / butter beans), soaked overnight, peeled
4 garlic cloves, chopped in 3 pieces each
Salt to taste
Turmeric (Maustekurkuma) to taste
Dried dill to taste
4 eggs (1 egg for each person – we were 3, so there are 3 eggs on the photo below)
1 tsp / 5 ml saffron
2 tsp / 10 ml water (to use with saffron)
A fresh salad – made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, lemon juice etc..
1. Wash rice 1-2 times with water. Put it in a pan, cover with water (the proportion of rice to water is 1 to 1.5). Add salt and a dash of olive oil and put it in high heat until the rice is partially cooked. When it is done, transfer rice on a strainer.
2. Cut potato in thin slices as seen in the picture (do not peel it). You should have enough slices to cover the pan you will use for cooking the rice – if you are using a big, shallow pan then you should have maybe 2 potatoes. In the bottom of your pan, pour a bit of olive oil to cover the base and then put potato slices as seen in the photo. Add a dash of olive oil on the potatoes.
4. When you put all the rice, adjust heat on low, cover with a kitchen towel and put the lid of pan on. Every now and then, add a bit of oil, poke the rice with fork. You should end up with somewhat flaky rice in the end.
5. Now comes the bean part (as I wrote above, beans should be soaked overnight and peeled). Wash the beans a few times with water.
7. After 30 minutes, put the eggs on the surface. In order to do that, crack each egg on a small plate and slowly and carefully, put it close to the edge of the pan, on the beans. Do it for all the eggs you are using. Continue cooking until eggs are well cooked.
9. Take a serving plate and release the rice upside down. Just looking at the photo right now I get hungry. Put the beans with egg in a service bowl. Serve rice with beans on top, with the addition of salmon, green olives, salad, and of course, some wine! Ahh this is torture to look at if you are hungry as I am right now!!
About saffron: Since it is very expensive, especially in Finland, hear Ashkan’s words on choosing saffron when you are to buy it: “Good saffron smells strong, has strong colour. You don’t need to use much.” So now go and buy good saffron without accidentally overpaying for bad one. Cheers!